Malaysia's Anwar 'shocked' as Japan denies entry

2014-01-20 10:39
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. (File, AFP)

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kuala Lumpur - Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said on Monday he was "puzzled and shocked" over being barred entry to Japan, as his party questioned whether Malaysia's ruling coalition was behind the move.

Anwar said he arrived at Narita International Airport on a personal visit early on Sunday and was told by immigration authorities he was barred because of his 1999 conviction for sodomy and corruption.

The controversial conviction, which cast the then-rising political star out of Malaysia's longtime ruling party and into jail for six years, is viewed by many as a frame-up by Anwar's enemies.

"I am puzzled and shocked by the incident", Anwar, aged 66, told AFP.

"It is not the way for a democratic country to treat an opposition political leader and a veteran politician."

He called on Malaysia's government to "probe this incident and lodge a strong protest against Tokyo".

'Hidden hands'

Anwar said he protested to Japanese immigration officials, saying the 1999 conviction was an invalid reason to refuse his entry and that he visited Japan on three occasions since 2006 without incident.

Officials told him vaguely that they were responding to a more recent "report" against him, he said.

Anwar added that he had been invited to Japan to deliver a speech on inter-religious harmony by a Japanese NGO.

He returned to Malaysia on a later flight.

In a blog posting, Anwar said he felt "hidden hands may be at work here" and demanded an explanation from Malaysia's foreign ministry.

"The barring of Anwar Ibrahim from entering Japan raises serious questions on the involvement of this [the Malaysian] government", Anwar's People's Justice Party said in a separate statement.

Malaysia's foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Anwar said Japan's embassy in Malaysia had told him before the trip there would be no problem entering the country. Embassy officials declined immediate comment to AFP.

Malaysia's ruling coalition has steadily lost ground in parliament since Anwar officially became opposition leader in 2008.

The opposition accuses the coalition of a long-running campaign of harassment and false charges designed to smear Anwar.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    anwar ibrahim  |  malaysia
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Du Preez key to Boks' success
Cheika taking it one game at a time
Cotter: 'No beer bribe for Samoa'
England lost trying to copy All Blacks
Traffic Alerts

Spontaneity is the order of the day. Let go and have some fun. Try not to set too many set plans and expectations and enjoy more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.